DA execs pray weather won’t mess up East Visayas harvest
TACLOBAN CITY — Officials of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Eastern Visayas constantly look up to the skies and cross their fingers for an urgent reason — the DA regional office’s rice production targets depend on the weather.
Knowing fully well that weather conditions were beyond their control, DA officials in the region just pray that the weather remained good for the rest of the year.
Last year, the regional DA office failed to reach its target of producing more than a million metric tons of rice due to heavy rains and Typhoon “Urduja,” which slammed the region in the last months of 2017.
In 2017, rice production in the region reached only 945,565 MT.
Ma. Remedios Amida, DA regional official in charge of rice production, said bad weather usually occurred in the region in the last quarter of the year, which coincided with harvest time.
“We just hope that no bad weather will hit our region especially in November which is the usual harvest time,” she said.
Amida said a bounty harvest could help address rice shortage in the region amid price increases hounding rice supply.
Commercial rice in the region is being sold in the market for as high as P56 per kilogram while rice from the National Food Authority (NFA), which has now become scarce, could be bought at P37 per kilogram.
This year, the DA projected palay production of more than 1 million MT.
Depending on weather
In the first half of the year, the DA reported a production of 538,214 MT of rice, which was a little higher than last year’s yield of 525,216 MT.
Amida said the DA was hoping that, barring bad weather that could hit the region in the remaining months of the year, palay production would at least reach the same level as last year’s 420,349 MT.
Farmers in the region sell their palay mostly to private traders who offer up to P30 per kg compared to the NFA’s P17 per kg.
Among the region’s six provinces, Leyte had the highest yield at 294,352 MT in the first semester of the year. It was followed by Samar with 79,440 MT.
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